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In my fairly-spread-out NYC apartment, the Minister of the Interior long ago decreed no wires from one room to another. I have tried different iterations of powerline - my latest one is the TP-Link Tl-PA8010P Kit AV1200 Gigabit, rated up to 1200Mbps. I used it in conjunction with an Eero router.

I pay for a 300Mbps Internet connection from Spectrum (Time Warner), and I get consistently close to that, wirelessly, when a machine is in the same room as the router or in an adjoining room. My office, however, is about as far from the router as one can get and still be in my apartment, and it's on the other side of the kitchen, so there are major appliances between it and the router. The newer iteration of Eero, however, combined with a Beacon (Eero's range extender), made the TP-Link unnecessary.

With the TP-Link, I could get close to 50Mbps, which in practical terms is fast enough for my purposes (and over 20Mbps upload). It's hard to complain about these numbers, considering what others have to put up with... With the Eero Beacon, I can get close to 100Mbps down and 30 up.

I keep both connected; sometimes the WiFi speed is affected by something, and I turn WiFi off and use the TP-Link.
 



So my question with all the mesh talk:

Our home is hardwired with Cat5e ethernet - ports in every room. Cable modem in our central closet with AirPort Extreme as a router. Ethernet out from the router to the patch panel, so all ethernet ports around the 2-story house are live. I have other AirPorts hard wired around the house in bridge mode for the same secure wireless network, and all is fine.

So, when my router finally bites it (or the AirPort Utility stops being supported), I'm not sure that I "need" a mesh setup. I have essentially unlimited wired access points all over the house. What I need is something close to what I have now, which works perfectly....

If I am using terms wrong, please educate me - can't say this is my strong suit....
 


So my question with all the mesh talk:
Our home is hardwired with Cat5e ethernet - ports in every room. Cable modem in our central closet with AirPort Extreme as a router. Ethernet out from the router to the patch panel, so all ethernet ports around the 2-story house are live. I have other AirPorts hard wired around the house in bridge mode for the same secure wireless network, and all is fine.
So, when my router finally bites it (or the AirPort Utility stops being supported), I'm not sure that I "need" a mesh setup. I have essentially unlimited wired access points all over the house. What I need is something close to what I have now, which works perfectly....
If I am using terms wrong, please educate me - can't say this is my strong suit....
When your "router finally bites it", you can replace just that unit with anything that meets your requirements, or even one with firewall capabilities. There is no technical reason that your Ethernet network should need revision.

As far as the Ethernet-connected access points ("AirPorts in bridge mode"), AirPort Utility is 64-bit already. It runs on the current and recent releases of macOS. For the purpose of resetting an AirPort basestation to Bridge mode, no further support from Apple is needed. Keep using whatever you have until they 'finally bite it'. Hint: Along the way I have collected a couple of Gen 5 AirPort Extreme basestations, which are not satisfactory as an IPv6 router but are perfectly good as an access point when in Bridge mode.

It is important to export the AirPort configurations for possible future use. The .basestation files are in XML text format - confusing at first but quite useful. Even in the future without Airport Utility, you can extract configuration information from the .basestation file to set up non-Apple replacements.
 


So, when my router finally bites it (or the AirPort Utility stops being supported), I'm not sure that I "need" a mesh setup. I have essentially unlimited wired access points all over the house. What I need is something close to what I have now, which works perfectly....
Here is my limited understanding of some of the issues:

You don't really need any of the wireless network extension features that "mesh" usually gives, since you would probably want any wireless access points (APs) to connect to the rest of the local network (and through that to the Internet at large) using the wired connection.

However, the older AirPort devices do not do a particularly good job of dealing with things like when a device moves from close to AP#1 to close to AP#2. This is something that the client device is supposed to do automatically but often fails to do. Modern fancy APs that can talk to each other can more easily notice when clients move from place to place and then the APs can reduce power levels and disconnect clients from one AP to encourage them to connect to the other AP. With multiple antenna designs they can potentially form shaped signals that track connected devices' locations to give higher power and better connection speeds to individual devices while minimizing interference issues with other devices.

OK, at least some of the above is more "marketing fluff" than actual real-world effect, but at least some of it has impact on actual deployments.

I am in the process of trying to set up a small office with lots of wired access points, but the growth of mobile devices has made their multi-AirPort AP setup irritating, particularly when moving devices from one side of the building to the other.

We finally set up a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X to do all the office router stuff, replacing the AirPort Extreme for DHCP and firewall tasks. Many of the "mesh" systems want to be the network router (Google's for example), so we are looking at some of the Asus AiMesh devices, as implemented in recent firmware updates to a fair number of Asus WiFi routers. Set up as "AiMesh AP Nodes" with one "AiMesh AP Router", they seem happy to do their thing all within our local network, using it as the "backhaul" for inter-node communication rather than doing that over the wireless systems.

I have not yet got it all tested, and I just had a hardware failure that requires a replacement, but the initial testing has been positive. One downside is that I think is that it is going to be a bit of a challenge creating a "guest" network with the AiMesh devices that will get properly segregated from the local network and properly routed to the Internet by the EdgeRouter. We may end up keeping some of the AirPorts doing just WiFi Guest duties.
 



So, when my router finally bites it (or the AirPort Utility stops being supported), I'm not sure that I "need" a mesh setup. I have essentially unlimited wired access points all over the house. What I need is something close to what I have now, which works perfectly....
Adam, other than the extra ethernet ports (which I miss in a couple of places), I’ve replaced my AirPorts with EnGenius APs. I went with the EAP1300EXT as NewEgg had a really good deal on them a year or so ago. I would have gone with mesh but wired the house with Cat5 a long time ago, and this seemed like a better way.

I suppose I could have used a mesh system that supports wireless backhaul, but over a year ago, there weren’t too many options (promised for Orbi, but not available).
 


I have the LinkSys Velop 2-node system. It has been rock-solid, fast, and reliable with one irritating exception: because each interchangeable unit has 2 Ethernet ports, any of which can be the one that connects to the modem, when the power goes out and everything reboots... it's at least a 50/50 shot that something other than my Velop router will grab the DHCP from the modem, crippling Internet access for everyone. To get out of this, I have to isolate just the Velop and the modem, restart with everything else disconnected, and after everything comes back up, then I can hook up the rest of the network. No big deal you say, but it caused my wife to have to endure a day without Internet access when I was not home...
 


One of my colleagues recommended Ubiquiti ceiling-mounted access points, when my client was moving to a new premise. At under $100 each, they take power over Ethernet with an included adapter, can be configured from a web interface or an iPhone app, and best of all they have been super-fast and problem-free. Note that these are access points, not routers; you hook them up via 1000-Base-T Ethernet (note you won't get full speed if you use crappy old wires).

 


Can you elaborate on what tasks you need this box to perform? And, also what you currently use?
I just need simple failover from the cable WAN to the DSL WAN in case the cable network goes down. I haven't used or needed more complicated load balancing or QoS features, and VPN isn't required.

I've been using an early version of the TP-Link TL-R480T+, and it has been very reliable, if a bit clumsy on the user interface side, but I'd like something with gigabit ports on the LAN side. I've looked at newer TP-Link devices, but I'm ambivalent about TP-Link, as they range from very slow to non-existent with firmware updates. I'd like to stay in the less than $300 range.
 


Great timing for a discussion. At home, I'm considering upgrading my franken-net (cable modem+Wi-Fi router, 2 Wi-Fi routers in bridge mode and powerline network) with a Velop mesh...
I do not think this will work as well as you want it to. The delay (and speed reduction) introduced by the powerline routers is probably going to inhibit the Velops' ability to properly inter-operate. If the rooms are completely isolated, I suppose that wouldn't matter, but with respect to really utilizing the mesh to roam around with your devices... I would expect uneven performance at best.

As far as powerline adapters (HomePlug AV standard, et. al), I have curtailed my use of them in general, except where no other viable alternative exists, and here's why: they are flaky in general. They down-step speed over time (light goes from green to yellow on some models to show this), and rarely step it back up - sometimes you can restore higher speed by manually unplugging and re-plugging one end. Rinse and repeat.

In the end, I got tired of getting calls from customers whose networks went wonky, and having to either walk them through sequentially restarting all the powerline adapters or having to drive out and do it myself. 98% uptime looks great on paper, sort of, but I want it to work 99.9999% of the time or more, thank you.
 




BKN

Last year I set about to replace the aging D-Link router and two satellite routers set up as range extenders (an Apple AirPort Extreme and a Securifi Almond) in my parents' ~4200 sq. ft. home with two floors. Testing determined that WiFi performance would be significantly enhanced by upgrading to a newer model router, and I'd heard good things about both the Orbi and the Eero.

After some research and cost analysis, we bought the Orbi and two satellites. Their home is partially hardwired for Cat-5e Ethernet in many of the rooms. I used it to obtain the best connectivity and throughput by connecting the Orbi and satellites that way. After some initial frustration getting one of the satellites to sync properly and show on the network, things seemed to work well –– at least at first. I liked the web interface for settings it has, and the view it gave of the devices on the network, but I also found it to be buggy. For example, you could give a name and an icon to a particular device on the network, but even after saving, it wouldn't stick through power cycles or resets. Sometimes it would just forget them on its own. I made sure the firmware was up-to-date on the Orbi and both satellites, but to no avail.

Within a couple of days, the real problems began to occur. Suddenly their iPhones couldn't connect to WiFi, or WiFi would appear to lock up and not let any device access the internet. Powering down the Orbi router would fix it for a few hours, then it would have to be done again. I even tried full factory resets on the Orbi and both satellites, but nope. After a few days of that nonsense, I boxed up the everything and sent it back to Amazon.

So, I decided to try the Eero (Gen. 2) next and got it plus two satellites, then hooked them up the same way. By comparison to the Orbi, the Eero has been a dream. More expensive yes, but worth it. Rock solid connections and never has to be reset. I wish the Eero had a web interface settings page that allowed extensive tweaking instead of just a very simple iPhone app, but it gets the job done.

I do worry that with Amazon purchasing Eero that things may go south, but if Jeff Bezos and his underlings are smart, they'll leave a great product well enough alone.
 


I have the LinkSys Velop 2-node system. It has been rock-solid, fast, and reliable with one irritating exception: because each interchangeable unit has 2 Ethernet ports, any of which can be the one that connects to the modem, when the power goes out and everything reboots... it's at least a 50/50 shot that something other than my Velop router will grab the DHCP from the modem, crippling Internet access for everyone.
What's your topology?

I would expect this if you have it wired with:

Modem --- Ethernet Switch --- Velop​

I would not expect this with:

Modem --- Velop --- Ethernet switch​

If the latter allows any device on the Ethernet LAN to grab the public IP address, then it means Linksys is bridging those two ports together, which also means there is no firewall isolation between your LAN and the Internet, which strongly implies that Linksys wants all networks to be Wi-Fi only and that if I want to use their product, I'll need to put it in bridge mode and get yet another router.

Sounds like I need to look for a completely different product.
 


By the way, if anyone has tips on a current SOHO dual-WAN router that won't break the bank, I'm all ears. I've been mostly satisfied with mine, but it is six years old and nearing end-of-support.
We have very good experience with Peplink's multi-WAN product line. Excellent management tools (local or cloud-based), integrates WiFi management as appropriate, and provides an extraordinary level of individualized tech. support.
 


This thread has motivated me to finally test the D-Link Powerline AV2 1000 adapters that I've had in use for a couple of months. I've had no complaints with them; they're certainly miles ahead of the prior generation of powerline equipment that I tried to use some some years ago. The earlier units would barely maintain an "LED red" connection between my Mac Pro and the Apple Time Capsule a few rooms away, and would often need to be pulled from the wall and re-inserted to reset the connection.

In contrast, these new units show three green lit LEDs 100% of the time. I set up an iperf3 host on an old Core 2 Duo iMac running Linux Mint 19, and then installed iperf3 as a client using Homebrew on the Mac Pro. So, in a sense, the aging 2nd-generation Time Capsule or the aging 2007 iMac may be influencing these results (full disclosure). Anyway, these "Gigabit" powerline adapters are consistently passing traffic at 56 MBits/sec - quite a far cry from Gigabit, but a decent match for my Comcast rate, which coincidentally is 60 MBit.

Verdict: I would still recommend the D-Link adapters for situations like mine.

(The Mac Pro wifi performance is abysmal: 2.5 Mbit/sec through a couple of walls and the Mac Pro aluminum case, at 802.11n speeds).
 


I replaced my franken-net with a Google mesh 3-pack, and it has been absolutely fabulous. Best unknown feature is that you can dim the light display on individual units. The one near the bedrooms is off, livingr oom on full, hallway only dimly - working as a nightlight! And get some add-on mounting brackets, and things are sweet.
your milage may vary.
 


I have AT&T Fiber service at 125Mbps, both ways. I use 3 Netgear Orbi's. I've had the system up and running for 2 years and 2 months. I have had no down time at all related to Orbi. I believe I can say I've had 100% uptime with the Orbi. I've had a few service interruptions from AT&T that lasted approximately 5 minutes. But 99%+ uptime overall. I have many devices, iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, Apple TVs, Samsung TVs, thermostats, etc. attached. Throughput is constant throughout both floors of the house. All around the front yard. By the pool. In the backyard beyond the pool. My house is 100% rock/brick on all 4 sides, minus windows. I could not be more happy with the Orbi product, in my application.
 


I replaced my franken-net with a Google mesh 3-pack, and it has been absolutely fabulous. Best unknown feature is that you can dim the light display on individual units. The one near the bedrooms is off, living room on full, hallway only dimly - working as a nightlight! And get some add-on mounting brackets, and things are sweet.
your milage may vary.
Thanks for the tip.

I see that Google supports bridging the mesh via Ethernet and supports switches in between the nodes. Is yours connected in this way? If so, have you encountered any problem with the network coming up properly after a power outage?

My only possible issue here is that it appears that the Google Wi-Fi system must be configured via an app and the app requires a Google account. Does anyone know if there are any privacy issues here? I don't want Google running analytics over my entire LAN as a consequence of installing their routers.
 


What's your topology? I would expect this if you have it wired with:
Modem --- Ethernet Switch --- Velop​
I would not expect this with:
Modem --- Velop --- Ethernet switch​
If the latter allows any device on the Ethernet LAN to grab the public IP address, then it means Linksys is bridging those two ports together, which also means there is no firewall isolation between your LAN and the Internet, which strongly implies that Linksys wants all networks to be Wi-Fi only and that if I want to use their product, I'll need to put it in bridge mode and get yet another router. Sounds like I need to look for a completely different product.
The Velop has two Ethernet ports, which are interchangeable, whereas most routers have a WAN port and one or more LAN ports.

I have a Cat 6 cable attaching the Velop directly to the modem. I have an Ethernet switch on the other port, which extends the LAN to the TV set, Apple TV, VoIP adapter, etc. The modem is not behind the switch.

The other Velop at the other end of the house extends the network via WiFi (not a cable backbone) and has an Ethernet cable that goes directly to my HP printer.

I do not follow how there is "no firewall isolation" between the WAN and the LAN. They are on different addressing schemes and could not, so far as I am aware, be logically connected; the Velop presumably decides in software which one is WAN and which one is LAN in software.

Other networks I administer, which use more traditional routers with separate WAN and LAN ports, do not preclude me from addressing the upstream router or modem from the LAN if I know its IP address, so there does not seem to be any difference in security that I'm seeing: once the router is up and properly configured, the LAN and WAN are properly separated.

The issue as I see it with the Velops' unusual Ethernet ports is, that until it has booted and configured itself to the modem, all ethernet ports are on the same physical interface, meaning that my VoIP device or TV set is grabbing the modem's'] DHCP for the WAN. So far, this is a problem only when everything reboots at once.

The only upside I see to this arrangement is that the two Velop units are interchangeable (whereas with Netgear Orbi there are separate primary and satellite units). When one of the Velops is acting as a satellite, both ports are available for attached devices.

Because blackouts do happen, I would have to say that the Ethernet port design of the Velop would stop me from recommending it at a client site: I want that reliability, so that after a power fail things can be expected to come back up properly without needing me to mollycoddle anything. So far, I have not found a way to do this with Velop, and until I do, that is going to be a showstopper on my recommending the product.
 


In the discussion of wireless network equipment, please include how they are updated for security. in my opinion, it negates ease of use or speed if the manufacturer does not patch security holes and push them out to the installed units, especially the router part of the network. Or have the equipment fetch updates regularly and securely. I am reluctant to depend on the internet provider to update their routers regularly,
 


...which strongly implies that Linksys wants all networks to be Wi-Fi only and that if I want to use their product, I'll need to put it in bridge mode and get yet another router.
Velop supports Ethernet backbone and Wifi-To-Ethernet via these two ports, as I described in my earlier post. I do not see how those facts suggest that they "want" me to be Wifi only. Nor do I see what the utility would be in putting a Velop in "bridge mode." Velop is not a modem/router - if you put it in "bridge" mode, you basically would have a $200 2-port Ethernet switch. Not very useful.
 


Here's another possibility.

One of Linksys's (presumably newer) routers, the MR8300 (Amazon link), is a traditional standalone Wi-Fi router that includes Velop-compatible mesh capabilities.

This should solve the problem of a Velop's master node not isolating the LAN from the modem, since all the Velop nodes will be on the LAN and there will be a proper router acting as gateway. It's also not too expensive ($150 for the MR8300 and $130 for a 2-node dual-band Velop package.

What do others here think?
 


Does anyone have any experience with Synology's mesh router, the MR2200ac?

I can say that I have been extremely satisfied with their RT2600ac, even though it's non-mesh.
 



I had been looking at the Netgear Orbi, too. Then I read the user reviews on Amazon...
Well I have had the Netgear Orbi with only one satellite for over two years. It's combined with a gigabit wired network, I have two set up where the router is in an adjacent building to my house. Downstairs I am hardwired, and upstairs in the house I have the satellite with two MacBook Pros and four iPhones and couple of iPads using the wireless network. Have speeds of over 300 mbps on the wireless side in the house utilizing the sattelite and over 800 mbps using the wire network. Solid as a rock. The best solution I have ever had. I had an AirPort router running at my business with repeaters, and it was quite underwhelming compared to this solution
 



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